Monday, December 31, 2012

Cactus Basket

I haven't had much of a chance to check other blogs, but I imagine quite a few have posts finally showing quilts that were made and gifted for Christmas. I don't generally make quilts for gifts, but I did this year. And like many other bloggers, didn't post a picture cause the recipient reads my blog. I made this basket quilt  wall quilt for my sister. I think it was on the wall within minutes of her opening the package, because she soon took a picture of it on her wall and emailed me the picture with a few words of thanks.

I suddenly decided to make this little quilt when I was cutting out little diamonds for a  Live Oak Tree quilt block. I was looking for a brown for the tree trunk and came across a basket weave print that immediately said -  make baskets instead. I love it when fabric talks to me, don't you?  I'd been wanting to do a small basket quilt for some time, and I thought Carol would like one too so I set out to make two little basket quilts. This was around Thanksgiving. When I mentioned my plan to friend Judy, she commented that I'd never get it done in time. Of course, I had to prove her wrong. Carol's was finished and in the mail in time for her to open on Christmas. I haven't started mine yet because having already made one with the Cactus Basket pattern, I have to choose a different basket pattern for mine. Been there, done that, right? So that is now on my someday list.

All my Lemoyne Star blocks are done and I have begun to sew them together into rows. With any luck, I should finish that top tonight. I usually also post on Thursday, so you can check back then to see it. So far, I am loving it and Mark likes it too.  Time to check the blogs at Patchwork Times.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Just 15 more

I'm still stitching 8-pointed stars. I only need to finish 15 more before I can sew them together into a top. Either this quilt will finish about 72" or I need to find a border fabric for them. Maybe I will wait and take the top to the shop with me to pick it out. Or do I want to add a pieced border???

In between stitching stars, I put another sampler/comfort quilt on the frame down in the studio. I've only done the top border so far. I will probably do a lot of continuous curve quilting on the blocks. Time will tell.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Piecing on Auto Pilot

In the bits of time I've snatched here and there in the last few days I've managed to finish the 16 blocks with the muslin background I need  for my new Lemoyne Stars quilt. After making so many of these blocks, it takes no thinking on my part, or no concentration. So much for making another crumb quilt this week.

I have the other pieces cut out, so I'll keep sewing when I have a few minutes. I wouldn't be surprised if I finish that top by New Years. I am keeping it simple, in spite of the 300 or so set-ins the quilt requires. I know alot of people avoid set-ins like the plague, and I don't understand why. I would far rather deal with them than the bulk of the extra seams if I made stars from half-squares I'm showing at the left. The half-squares don't really give you diamonds, which I prefer.  But then, I spose if one doesn't have a pattern for the version with diamonds and they don't want to cut out the parallelograms that deal with 16ths of an inch and . . . Yeah, I  talk with myself like this often.

Yesterday with  my sister and her kids was great.  Mark and I had a nice visit, lots of yummy food, a brisk walk to look at the lights coming on in town and a latte at the coffee shop. Why do we wait for the holidays to do it??? Dear daughter is coming here this afternoon with friend and tomorrow our fella friend will be here for dinner. No doubt I will be able to catch a few minutes to sew. Nice and Pieceful.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mile A Minute Quilt

Rummaging through boxes of Christmas decorations, I came upon this quilt top stuffed in a bag. What a hoot! I have no idea how, when or why it was in with the Christmas decorations.  I made it 5 or 6 years ago and never finished it. You can call it a Crazy Quilt, but to me that would indicate there would be some fancy embroidery and there is none. Some call it a Crumb Quilt. That name works for me, but I had this labeled on my computer as Mile-a-Minute Quilt. Whatever you call it, they are fun and fast to make and I am ready to make another.

Tuesday was our regular meeting day at church, and because not everyone showed up the week before, I thought I could go again this week to see if anyone shows up cause they missed the message that we changed to last week. Lois did show up, dropped off her finished quilts and left. I stuck around and sorted through the fabrics again, pulling out all the small pieces that need to be cut for scrap quilts. I brought a bundle home to work on.  A big part of me always wants to have ALL the scraps cut and sorted before I do any kitting and yet I know that isn't going to happen. I need to constantly remind myself  that the scraps are never ending and that I should  kit up some scrap quilts with what is already cut And make another Mile-A-Minute Quilt. I don't know if it is cause it's the holiday season or what, but I'm having trouble focusing on a project that would require more thinking. A fast project like  this would be ideal. First I need to clear some room of wrapping paper and gifts.

I went into Milwaukee with Mark yesterday to turn in his ID badge - not quilte 40 miles. On our way we noted all the changes in the 45 years since he started working there. For starters, the freeway was built about 39 years ago. I remember that, cause the exit to his house was opened when we were still dating.
Then we noted several cell towers, water towers, business/industrial  parks, shopping centers, homes and subdivisions. In Milwaukee, we passed where I once worked as a teenager and where I hung out with my friends and the parking lot at the airport where the kids made out and families watched the planes take off and land. I wonder what will take me there in the future and what will change. We did finish our shopping and never contemplated getting the Accuquilt cutter.

Today is Mark's first day of retirement. So far, so good. We haven't gotten any of the snow forecasted yet. It should start this afternoon. 4" to 10" depending on the way the storm blows. Here is hoping that everyone gets there gifts finished in time to give. And I hope you all find a little time to take a few stitches this next week too. I am sure I will.

Monday, December 17, 2012

2 days and counting

I'm happy with all the quilting I've gotten done in the last month, considering it's holiday season. All my bindings are done plus a few other projects including this mystery quilt. I made one more block to arrange them  6 x 6 instead of 5 x 7. I had enough of all the fabrics except I was short one purple rectangle. It's sure nice to have an extensive stash to find a suitable substitute.

Considering the holidays aren't a real big deal around here, you would think that my stress level is pretty low especially with all the sewing I have been doing .  Well, it's not. That is probably cause I really hate the shopping involved. So every year I procrastinate when it comes to shopping. I don't know why I procrastinate. My husband loves it and every years he rescues me. He doesn't do it all or even alone. But I find going with him enjoyable. And he spends far more than I ever would alone. That is actually a good thing.

So Wednesday he's going to work for the last time, just for a hearing exam and to turn in his ID card. He wants me to go along so we can go shopping afterword. For what???? He doesn't have a clue. Is this supposed to be some sort of retirement celebratory purchase? Something for Christmas? For who? I might have to take him by JoAnn's and show him the Accucut Go . . . Do I want it? And except for wrapping a few gifts, I'm nearly ready. How about you?
It's Design Wall Monday. I am going to check out the blog's linked up at Judy's to see if everyone is getting their projects done for their gift giving.

Monday, December 10, 2012

More for Others

We are meeting at church a week early this month cause of Christmas, so that means tomorrow. I missed the Oct. meeting when Jean passed out directions for her block for the exchange. I usually get those done right away, so that means they are due tomorrow. She asked for these string blocks. Fast and easy. Perfect for this time of year.

I also got the bindings done on the last 2 quilts. They go so quick when I do them entirely by machine, I wonder why I put it off. And the blocks are all done for the mystery quilt I've been working on. I haven't even arranged them on the flannel wall yet though.

My life will be changing pretty soon. My guy has only 5 days left of work before he retires! I hope it doesn't take long to adjust.  I have a few good friends that suggest when I need  a break that I come visit them. As much as I appreciate it, I am sure none of them intend for me to stay for several days straight.  I am sure I will need a quilting retreat this spring.  Now to find one before it is too late to register.
But first let's check out the other blogs linked up at Judy's for  Design Wall Monday.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A little here, a little there

My list is constantly changing. That's a good thing. I accomplish a few tasks, cross them off, and add a few more. I replaced the block that was spinning wrong and got the blocks together. But first I had to audition this green for sashing.
  Yeah, well, I never liked sashing much anyway. So I arranged them as originally planned.
I thought they looked a bit like flowers (missing their center) but Mark - not so much. He thought it looked a little busy, too. With that thought in mind, I thought I'd skip the cream inner border and just add the light green. It's about all I have left of any of the other fabrics.

I also got one more of the bindings done - so, two more to go there. And I took a break today for a much needed massage. I haven't had one in nearly a year. I find them very therapeutic, but  I was feeling so good all year, I didn't need to go till recently.

I'm back to my cutting. I never intended to quit while I was doing that marathon cutting.
 Now I am cutting 1 1/2" diamonds for a Forbidden Fruit Tree block. Unless I get carried a way, I am planning to make only one block with several  rounds of diamonds for the leaves arranged very much like a lone star but with just 5 diamond segments instead of 8 and a tree trunk. Come back and you'll see.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Checking my List

My quilting to-do list is getting shorter, but I haven't even started the Christmas to-do list. It's short, so that's ok. On my quilitng list is the Ben Franklin mystery.  I wanted to wait until I got the next step of directions so I could do it right away.  Without even trying, I was able to put off working on it all month and tomorrow I get the next and final step.  My odd 9-patches are done and next I am supposed to divide the block and add a contrast strip in each direction. So my timing was good.  Maybe I will finish up with them before tomorrow and then the next sewing session I can set them together.
Looking back at my list , I am pleased to see that I have most of it done as intended so far.

1. Lemoyne star - diamonds cut, muslin and background picked out.
2. Flying Geese are Birds in the Air - top done
3. Ladies in Waiting. - No retreat scheduled.
4. Dresden Plates - half distributed to church ladies
5. Scrap cut, sorted and filed away.
6. Flower blocks - need to replace one block
7. Bindings - Of the 7 quilts waiting for binding, I got 5 done and finished quilting another top, so I have                 3 more to bind. That is high on the list this week.
8. Smokey Mountain Star - waiting for border - but I did find the fabric I want to use. I hope there's enough.
9. Mystery - reported above.

 Then maybe I will clean up the house and decorate a bit.
Note - this list is subject to change.